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[ 222 ] January 20, 2017 |

We are 1/1461 through the Trump administration. Everything today was basically horrible. To top it off, I was at the store this evening getting some supplies for the cat. I realized while I was standing in line and checking my phone that it was at that very spot doing the very same thing that I discovered Antonin Scalia had died, which to me was a sign that this nation was going to be OK for the next several years. Hillary would become president, which wouldn’t really be all that great, but the SCOTUS picks would be and we would survive the rising fascism of the nation’s right.

That worked out well.

Then I got to the cashier. She was Latina and transgender. And all I could think about was how horrible this administration would make her life.

Going to be a long, long, long 4 years.

On the other hand, two positive things.

First, I was driving through Ebensburg, Pennsylvania this afternoon while finding a very exciting grave for the internet’s least important series and ran across this sign. Now this is some old time religion I can get behind.


And then of course, this brilliance.

Now, you might say that you don’t want to see a Nazi get punched. Nonviolence and all. That’s an incorrect stand to take. You should always punch a Nazi. That said, I do have a criticism. Couldn’t they have stuck around for a second and kicked Spencer in the ribs a couple of times?

See also:

As for tomorrow, I wish I could be at the Washington rally, along with my wife, my dissertation advisor, graduate school friends, and former students. Alas. But I will be at the Rhode Island rally. Go raise some hell. Shove in the fascists’ stupid faces.


Comments (222)

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  1. efgoldman says:

    That said, I do have a criticism. Couldn’t they have stuck around for a second and kicked Spencer in the ribs a couple of times?

    You do a lot less damage to your hand if you whack him with a 2×4
    As an alternative, an aluminum softball bat gives off a nice “pinnnnggg”

    • Mellano says:

      As someone who grew up with metal composite bats, I think there’s something special and distinctly American about the sharp crack of wood.

    • AlanInSF says:

      In the 1930s, when fascism was gaining in many countries, it was an honorable American tradition to beat up Nazis. This more enlightened time was wonderfully chronicled in a long passage of William Boyd’s most recent novel, “Sweet Caress.”

      BTW, just trying to bring a little light in the darkness, joy in the sorrow: Anyone who doesn’t know William Boyd should immediately binge read all his books. And then you’ll forever remember January 20, 2017 as the day you discovered William Boyd.

      • sigaba says:

        It’s only okay to beat up Nazis if everybody agrees it’s okay, because then it’s fundamentally apolitical.

        The problem in the current crisis is Republicans have succeeded in politicizing anti-fascism.

        • dsidhe says:

          After you punch the Nazi, you should yell “This jerk stole my child’s candy!” and then run away. That way, it’s not political. Jerks who steal candy from children make lousy martyrs.

      • davidjoseph1 says:

        I was privileged to grow up in the Borscht Belt among tough Jews. In the thirties, the Parksville crew went over the mountain to beat up Bundists and Nazis in Ulster County. I remember Nat Tanzman’s hands, like sledgehammers. What a nice guy.

      • JdLaverty says:

        Know how you feel g. When I was working as a union organizer this crotchety old guy who nowadays helps run the local used to tell these colorful stories about working for the 1199E in the ’60s. Stuff like “Your generation, everybody needs their safe space; back in my day if I sawr a strikebreaker I’d pull out my blackjack and give the yellow bastard a good thumping” and such. I mean most of it was preposterous but it was nice to dream of a time when there were actual consequences for being a greedy, lying hate-slanger. Now? During my first campaign a loss prevention goon once illegally fired a seven-months-pregnant cashier for circulating a pro-union petition…he didn’t get his ribs broken or nothing :(

    • Hogan says:

      “They say you should never hit someone with your closed fist. However, it is, on occasion, hilarious.”

      • N__B says:

        An early Joss line appeals to me: “Kill him. A lot.”

      • delazeur says:

        “Anyone ever tries to kill you, you try and kill ’em right back.”

        If you rely on the ACA, it’s open season on people who are supporting repeal.

        • JdLaverty says:

          You know the GOP has been morally bankrupt for so damn long that I think we sometimes forget just how indisputably, genuinely horrible some of these people really are. I mean seriously, take a step back, put on your spectacles and take a closer look: a bunch of people who are supposed to be public servants are going to kick 20,000,000 off health insurance (literally killing tens of thousands of them) because their wealthy backers are incensed about a %4 tax increase on investment income. They are going to kill thousands and return us to a state where people regularly die because they’re poor. WHAT THE FUCK

  2. yet_another_lawyer says:

    That’s an incorrect stand to take. You should always punch a Nazi. That said, I do have a criticism. Couldn’t they have stuck around for a second and kicked Spencer in the ribs a couple of times?

    Well, enjoy your upcoming 15 minutes of internet fame. Frankly, you deserve it and I can’t even snark about it. I am so old that I remember when the criticism of Trump was that he casually endorsed violence against political opponents. I guess he really is your President.

      • postmodulator says:

        Won’t someone think of the Nazis?

        • efgoldman says:

          Won’t someone think of the Nazis?

          I try REALLY, REALLY hard not to.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          When dealing with Nazis, the important thing is making sure that they are treated with respect….

          • Shakezula says:

            All we are saying,
            is give Nazis a chance!

          • alexceres says:

            … they deserve ?

          • mikeSchilling says:

            When a Nazi makes a mess, there’s no point trying to explain to him why that’s wrong. Just rub his nose in it and strike him with a rolled-up newspaper. That is, rolled up around a two-by-four.

          • Chetsky says:

            Erik, lemme pose a question to you. I’m currently struggling with it myself. It’s one step up from “neo-nazis should always be punched”. I have a former friend, in my profession, who voted for the White Supremacist. And there’s no way one can describe him as either stupid, or misguided, or uninformed. Indeed, his vote for the Orange Usurper is completely in character.

            Should he be called-out in the professoinal forums where we cross paths? I wonder to myself: how did people do it in the runup to WWII? Was there a point at which anybody who was a Nazi was no longer admitted in polite society, nor in professional organizations?

            And if not, why not?

            On the one hand, it feels wrong to call him out. On the other, it feels wrong to silently let so many people (and this is a transnational profession with many non{cis,white}people) believe that he’s a normal, decent human being, when in fact he’s a sociopath.

            Feh. It’s a bit of a moral conundrum.

            • bw says:

              No it isn’t. You answered it yourself with the word sociopath. Fuck him.

              Sociopaths only manage to thrive because they live in a world where they can do their thing with impunity. Time to erase that impunity and introduce consequences.

            • Chetsky says:

              In case you’re wondering how I could have a friend like that, it’s is that until this election, I was willing to overlook his …. sociopathy for his other winning traits. But there’s a breaking point ….

            • MAJeff says:

              What’s wrong about calling out evil?

      • Yougottawanna says:

        For me, nonviolence is not a joke. It’s something I take seriously.

        • kvs says:

          Slavery, genocide, and fascism aren’t jokes either. All due credit to Dr. King and Gandhi, the ultimate targets of their nonviolence were liberal institutions and norms. They sought to trigger a disproportionate response from illiberal state actors in order to get the ultimate ruling power to issue a liberal corrective.

          Fascists and tyrants don’t believe in liberal institutions, liberal norms, or reason. They don’t respond to the same pressure points. They demand a different approach. Which is why, for example, Coates wrote about how it’s not sad that a war was fought to end slavery–their oppressors had already been engaged in war against the slaves for generations before the Union ever took up arms.

          Quakers at least satisfied the dilemma during WWII by putting their lives at risk to serve as medics healing the people who fought Nazis.

    • Ronan says:

      I actually agree with Erik here, there is a specific group of people who only respond(ie change their behaviour) to violence. For example, If someone is being obnoxious on a bus (ie shouting abuse) and if you think you could take them, you should. For this group ‘telling them off’ or shaming doesnt work, so the only thing that does is a swift punch to the face. I think it should be used sparingly, but more regularly than is common.

      • rm says:

        Uh . . . I don’t recommend starting a brawl with the obnoxious guy on the bus. Something like this, if possible, is better.

        Nazis are a special case. We don’t normalize Nazis, and if you want to punch one, I cannot object. What would Captain America do? He would punch the Nazi. What would Woody Guthrie do? Use his fascist-killing machine.

        • Ronan says:

          Might be worth developing some norms against loudtalking on the bus, and when we’re at it, linefarting(though that one might backfire on me)

          • rm says:

            The way to establish civil norms is bystander intervention and getting the crowd to notice and support instead of ignore. I hope you looked at the link.

            Taking fools down violently, especially in closed crowded spaces, is far from the first, most productive step in the intervention. In almost all cases that will be foolish and more harmful than not.

            EDIT: you said “backfire,” heh heh

    • Nick056 says:

      We fought a war against this ideology, you know. Many good, young men died far from home in the belief that through their sacrifice they were going to prevent nazis from saluting Hitler in Washington DC. Trump may not be Hitler, but Richard Spencer is a nazi, and if you perform a Sieg Hiel in DC it may not go well for you.

        • Brian Schmidt says:

          It’s important to remember that Erik Loomis is suggesting that other people, not himself, punch and repeatedly kick the people that Loomis labels as Nazi. If Loomis is planning to publicly assault a student visiting one of his classes who Loomis concludes is a Nazi, I missed his promise. If he wants to put in the effort beyond the time spent here calling on other people to commit violence, though, I’m sure he could find the opportunity to do it himself.

          I see some parallels to the small fraction of rich liberals welcoming a Trump presidency in order to “heighten the contradictions” and get social change – there are consequences to their fantasy, but they’re not the ones to live them.

          If Loomis bothers to read this, my guess is he’ll say cheerfully call himself a coward (then maybe admit that in the original post) or facetiously claim he’d do it (then go do it, how hard can that be). I’d be surprised if he put in any real thought on his support for violence; he certainly didn’t in the post or here in the comments.

          • brad says:

            Whereas those pearls you clutch aren’t signs of privilege, sure.

            • Brian Schmidt says:

              Why Brad, thanks for your oh so thoughtful comment, and I’m actually very privileged.

              I try to keep that in mind when I’m making suggestions for how other people should act, esp if it’s something I won’t do myself.

          • Philip says:

            the people that Loomis labels as Nazi.


          • Nick056 says:

            Spencer is a Nazi. Proof here. He advocates ethnic cleansing by name, qualifying it as “peaceful.” But everyone knows “peaceful ethnic cleansing” is an oxymoron, and he’s either dedicated to the peaceful part or the cleansing part, not both.

            If I can speak for him, I think brother Loomis believes that conscious emulation and veneration of Nazi rhetoric and Nazi symbolism places you far outside the liberal tradition and might get you a punch in the face because you are a direct threat to freedom and an insult to many people who died for freedom. I’m comfortable with that position. I support it fully. They’re Nazis. And everything else you’ve said really only matters if people are inciting violence they won’t participate in. Loomis isn’t inciting anything.

            • pillsy says:

              He has also, in the past, advocated outright genocide against at least African Americans. The “peaceful ethnic cleansing” Richard Spencer is already the respectable public face for the real one.

            • wjts says:

              …conscious emulation and veneration of Nazi rhetoric and Nazi symbolism places you far outside the liberal tradition…

              Not only outside it, but it shows that you very clearly want to destroy liberal society (sensu latu) and all that it entails, including official and unofficial protections for minority rights and free expression. “Fine: you go first” strikes me as a perfectly rational and ideologically consistent response.

      • alexceres says:

        My grandmother and grandfather both served in that war. I’m amazed the number of folks who don’t seem to care their beloved family members sacrificed immensely against these very things Trump endorses

        • Wapiti says:

          There’s likely WWII veterans who were in favor of Trump. My FIL (a good Democrat at 89) lives in an old folks home full of Trumpsters. Granted, his year group was the lot that got to Japan just as the war ended.

          I saw something on the tube with Trump and a bunch of retired generals standing in support behind him. Things must have been different in their day; maybe they value belonging to the Republican Party more important than little things like competence or not being Putin’s puppet.

          • sigaba says:

            “Retired generals” nowadays are going to be mostly veterans of the 80s Reagan Follies, the first Gulf War and various Terror Wars. Many of them may have served in Vietnam but none of them would have been general officers in that war. Retired generals of our era have:

            * Never fought in a declared war
            * Never commanded draftees at a level higher than a platoon, and certainly haven’t done so in about 50 years
            * Exclusively spent their careers in the company of career military officers and soldiers
            * Never known a time when the US didn’t have at least 5:1 military supremacy over our next largest rival. They certainly have never known a time, even in their childhood, when the US faced a foe that gave us a run for our money in conventional warfare.

            Many Americans proudly fought fascism in World War II but saw absolutely no inconsistency in returning to the Jim Crow south. Some did, which is a direct cause of our civll rights movement in the first place. The fact that civil rights seem to be in retrograde can be attributed to oldster Trumpers but we also should note that the generation that returned from WWII bent on making change has been dying off, and the people that have been replacing them just aren’t motivated by the same concerns. They didn’t tour Dachau, and they’d much spend their political capital worrying about who’s eavesdropping on their YouTube account, or corporatism, then boring old voting rights or racism. We just went through an election where a lot of people on the left were soft on a racist because he was more economically populist than the ‘sinister neoliberal corporatist’ Democrat.

        • Just_Dropping_By says:

          My grandmother and grandfather both served in that war. I’m amazed the number of folks who don’t seem to care their beloved family members sacrificed immensely against these very things Trump endorses

          It’s a good thing I had just swallowed my coffee before reading this, because that’s the funniest thing I read all week.

      • Burning_River says:

        And it absolutely shouldn’t go well for you if you do so.

      • Ronan says:

        I was reading a book about the bnp (British nAtional party) recently, where it noted that the reason their precursor, the more explicitly racist national front, stopped canvassing in east London in the 90s, was because every time they’d go out to campaign the anti fascists would literally beat them off the streets.
        I’m not sure how I feel about it at that level of violence, tbh. ( although it seemed to be effective for what they wanted to achieve)

      • Lee Rudolph says:

        if you perform a Sieg Hiel in DC it may not go well for you.

        For instance, someone standing in front of you might try to Sieg Heil you right back, but somehow not raise the saluting hand quite far enough to avoid your face!

        (Note: I am with comrade McManus on this issue; pieing someone is, no doubt, no less battery than punching them, but it runs a much smaller risk of garnering sympathy for them, even if—for instance—the pie filling is a very low pH lemon curd, and the meringue is flavored with Sriracha.)

    • pillsy says:

      So he broke the alleged norm against using violence against political opponents, and not only suffered no consequences for it but was actually elected to the Oval Office… so we should wring our hands about the leader of a violent Trump-supporting gang getting smacked right in his stupid Nazi face?

      Hard pass.

    • wengler says:

      Let us ask ourselves why the neo-Nazis didn’t march through Skokie even after they got the permit for it.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      Nazis are not mere political opponents. They are opponents of everything right and good. We are under no obligation to observe the normal rules of behavior when dealing with them.

    • celticdragonchick says:

      I hate Illinois Nazis.

      Oh, and I hate special snowflake asshats like you who think we should tolerate Nazis.

    • Little Chak says:

      Or, as the Good Reverend would say, “Why we are on this particular mission, we’ll never know. But I do know, that between Black Lives Matter, and the KKK, there is not one bit of difference. Anyone who endorses violence against the KKK is the same as those who would endorse violence against Black Lives Matter.”

      So shall it be, forever and ever, amen. Praise be.

    • socraticsilence says:

      Remind me again what was it the Greatest Generation did?

      Or to use a fictional source- canonically Captain America is and intrestingly enoigh pretty much always has been (even lookimg back on the old books) in yhe moral right.

    • Mayur says:


      My “political opponents” are assholes like Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell. I do not endorse violence against them.

      Then there are active fraudsters like James O’Keefe. I endorse slapping him with crippling fines and throwing him in jail for the full sentence he deserved on all counts.

      For actual neo-Nazis who advocate and are pretty proximately responsible for violence against minorities? Yeah a good piece of wood to the head seems about appropriate. Let’s drop the civility bullshit already.

  3. semiotix says:

    I grew up next door to Ebensburg, and speaking as an expert on the cultural folkways of Cambria County, Pennsylvania, that smart-alecky church sign may be the single most subversive thing that town has ever witnessed. (Yeah, yeah, it wouldn’t make Shouts and Murmurs, but trust me.)

  4. AMK says:

    I thought Schumer was good today–his speech with the letter from the Union officer had just the right amount of non-subtlety. Don’t look now but he might be rising to the occasion.

  5. Murc says:

    Now, you might say that you don’t want to see a Nazi get punched. Nonviolence and all. That’s an incorrect stand to take. You should always punch a Nazi.

    You know, normally I’d be against this sort of rhetoric. And if we ever get to the point where we have Democratic politicians and high-profile public officials advocating violence against their political opponents, I will be. And I suppose there’s a point to be made that we don’t even want to open the door to this kind of thing, that we shouldn’t let the right-wing tarnish us with their own bullshit.

    On the other hand Richard Spenser is a straight-up Nazi, Erik isn’t an elected official and doesn’t make public policy and if he did he absolutely wouldn’t be taking this line of talk, and we just had an illegitimate leader (I will never refer to Trump as “President” and would encourage others to not do so as well) installed for whom the only moral argument against assassination is that it would be massively counter-productive.

    So yeah. If this turns into an actual thing I’ll be against it then. And maybe I’ll regret waiting that long. But until that happens? I’m gonna see if I can make the sound that happened when Spenser got clocked into a usable ringtone. That’s what I’m gonna do.

    • wjts says:

      I’m gonna see if I can make the sound that happened when Spenser got clocked into a usable ringtone.

      Along these lines, may I suggest that Nazi troll comments get replaced with, “I’m a Nazi! Punch me in the face and watch me run away!” hyperlinked to that video?

    • Ronan says:

      I was talking to my mother recently about this, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her hope that a political figure was assassinated. As in unrepentantly wish for it. She’s generally tempermantally pretty conservative, and would have no time for political violence in general (ie she still wouldn’t vote for Sinn Fein because of the ira, although there are probably other reasons aswell that she wouldn’t tbf) but this seems to have turned her into a bit of an Anarchist.

      Edit: though she accepted my point that it would probably be counterproductive, so now she’s just hoping he drops from natural causes.

      • N__B says:

        I’m hoping for spontaneous combustion on national TV, during the State of the Union. No one to blame, seen by millions, and free marshmallows.

      • delazeur says:

        Pet peeve: The Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein are always the ones getting tarred with the terrorist brush even though the Loyalist militias ended up killing slightly more civilians with their own terror campaign, and had much stronger political operations (including active coordination with the British Army).

        I’m not saying the Provisional IRA gets a pass, by any means, but we could at least acknowledge that they weren’t the only ones up to that shit.

        • Ronan says:

          I agree*, but she(my mother) lives/votes in the South so those specific moral choices RE loyalism/the British Army dont come up (I agree the role of the British state in creating the conditions for the troubles often gets downplayed these days, and the idea that collusion was a necessary evil is becoming something of a conventional wisdom in some quarters. The Loyalists dont get away with criticism though, i dont think, they just get written off as pathological- which itself isnt much of an explanation)

          * I dont think that’s true re the Loyalists killing more civilians over the 30 years, but Id have to look it up.

          • delazeur says:

            I dont think that’s true re the Loyalists killing more civilians over the 30 years, but Id have to look it up.

            The Republicans killed more people in total, but the Loyalists killed more civilians specifically. Source. (Sorry for the confusing table. Look in the ‘Civilian’ column and compare 722 killed by Republican paramilitary to 186 killed by British security and 878 killed by Loyalist paramilitary.)

            IMO the numbers are close enough that it’s fair to say that both sides wreaked about the same amount of damage.

            • Ronan says:

              thanks, yeah you’re right.

              • delazeur says:

                I should also mention that I’m an American, so I am under no illusions that my experiences re: how people talk about The Troubles are actually representative of the situation in Ireland or Britain. The U.S. government has officially recognized Sinn Fein as being associated with terrorism, and that presumably influenced what a lot of Americans think about it.

                • Ronan says:

                  That’s a fair point. Also a lot of differences in how people view it depending on where in the UK and Ireland they’re based, (ie in my grandmothers generation there were pretty sharp divisions between family who lived in the north on the border, and those who grew up in the south)
                  There’s noticeable generational differences as well, ie Sinn Feins southern base is disproportionately quite young. I’m not sure if this is because they’re less likely to hold negative views towards Sinn Fein because they didn’t grow up with the troubles , or just that youth is a better predictor of support for outsider parties in general.
                  The loyalist cause doesn’t seem to have many mainstream supporters anymore, outside of the British far right.
                  Sinn Fein gets most heat in the south these days, but mainly because the mainstream parties often use (rightly or wrongly) the troubles to undermine their support. Most people, I would guess, don’t pay much thought to loyalism/unionism anymore. Which I’m starting to think is kind of whistling past the graveyard

      • farin says:

        I just can’t get behind wishing death on political opponents. There’s simply no need for it. I’d much rather every member of the cabinet suffer a massive (yuuge! the best!) stroke and end up in a locked-in state in unceasing agony, with the sadists in their party unwilling to allow the plug to be pulled.

  6. anonymous says:

    More like 1/2922

    He will get re-elected. Regardless of how awful his policies are, if he can be seen doing things that anger and hurt the “other people” then that will be enough. If he can deliver on the psychological wage of White Supremacy, that will be enough.

    If you don’t believe me, consider the voting patterns of the South, WV, etc. They are voting Repug for only one reason, which is Repug is considered the “White Party”. Full Stop. Doesn’t matter if they lose their healthcare or if their air is polluted.

    The ugly truth we have to face is that while the country is becoming more diverse and more progressive, it has resulted in a “Southernizing” counterreaction in the Upper Midwest that is making them Red States. That will be enough to win re-election in 2020.

    So 1/2922 and possibly beyond until FL and AZ become White minority States. (and hope that New England doesn’t Southernize)

    • ProgressiveLiberal says:

      Eh…I can see it going either way.

      There were plenty of black people that sat out and plenty of white women that can flip if shit gets bad enough in those midwestern states. Obama won them twice.

      Hate to beat this dead horse, but maybe we shouldn’t nominate the most disliked democratic nominee in history, and try something different, like nominating someone with a right side up popularity rating? Just spit ballin here…

      If they somehow don’t burn everything down in 4 yrs, then yeah, I’m terrified…but that would be the longest expansion in history and these clowns are surrounded by rakes. I mean, day one, they made it harder to get mortgages…implemented trump care and started the death spiral…how does any of that help the economy? Fed is already erring on the side of STOP…plenty of ways this could go bad.

      • sigaba says:

        Hate to beat this dead horse, but maybe we shouldn’t nominate the most disliked democratic nominee in history, and try something different, like nominating someone with a right side up popularity rating? Just spit ballin here…

        Anybody remember when the teacher told you before the student council election, “this isn’t a popularity contest”? Is that just an outmoded idea?

        I’m not going to give a full-bore defense of Hillary Clinton’s campaign but we can’t start talking about popularity, because if that’s what elections become, people like Trump will never lose.

        Was Bernie Sanders right-side-up in his popularity? Was Tom Vilsack? Or that other guy? Is this really how we want to solve this problem?

        • Just_Dropping_By says:

          Anybody remember when the teacher told you before the student council election, “this isn’t a popularity contest”? Is that just an outmoded idea?

          “Outmoded” suggests that the idea was correct at one time. That idea has always been wrong in the context of an electoral system that depends in substantial part on the outcome of a popular vote, so it’s not outmoded, just stupid. And Bernie Sanders was “right-side-up” in his popularity in almost every poll taken once the primaries were underway:

      • Taylor says:

        The horse is protesting the beating.

        It’s going to be a long 4 years.

    • rm says:

      Don’t catastrophize*, get involved.

      *or go back to criticize the popular vote winner as if it matters going forward, for fuck’s sake already, really, SMDH, I mean holy shit already, today is the cutoff for that crap, I mean ask John Kerry and Al Gore and Max Fucking Cleland whether there is a Perfect Unsmearable Candidate. Stop it, we have fucking work to do.

    • alexceres says:

      They didn’t think he was evil enough to take away their health care, and he’s already raised their mortgage costs. He’s 20 points less popular than any president on inauguration. He’s too incompetent to shepherd the economy, and he can’t keep his promise to either build the wall or bring back the jobs destroyed by automation.

      There’s no way he wins for the reasons you describe. He lost the first election by nearly 3 million votes.

      Nope, either he starts a war and rallies folks to the flag like W, or he successfully redirects blame for his failures on minorities, Kristalnacht or bust.

      • anonymous says:

        Once Whites in a State have been “Southernized” they vote Repug simply to vote “White Party”. It only reverses when Whites get outvoted due to demographic change like in VA and CO.

        Again look what happened to WV. It used to be Dem leaning. IA too. Now no matter how bad things get, you do realize that WV is never voting Dems again for POTUS!

        Like WV and IA, Dems need to accept that the Upper Midwest is on this Southernizing path. We don’t have to like it but it’s fact.

        • sigaba says:

          Just so we’re clear, “Southernize” here is a euphemism for “white people voting like minorities in the US traditionally have.” Instead of breaking 50/50 or 60/40, or breaking on ideological or religious identification, they break 90/10.

          • Bruce B. says:

            With the usual distinction that only one side has an organized, entrenched opposition dedicated to making/keeping them second-class and immiserated, and only one side has the opportunity to regard being on equal footing with others as a loss.

          • anonymous says:

            There’s a huge difference between minorities voting hugely for Dems because they are the champions of civil and equal right vs Whites voting for the Repugs because they are now the party of White Supremacism.

            This is a terrible false equivalency that you are making here between minorities and Whites and totally ignores the underlying reasons.

    • AMK says:

      I don’t think you can ignore the trade factor. The south has been a racist crab-bucket wasteland for 400 years, but the industrial hollowing-out of large areas of the midwest started within living memory and continues. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that a guy who makes offshoring central to his platform going up against the beltway-icon wife of the NAFTA guy will outperform the typical GOPer by enough in a close race to make the difference in these places.

      • Gizmo says:


        You can debate the causes of the decline all day – None of that matters politically.

        Its plainly obvious that trade agreements like NAFTA were bad for American workers and the research backs that up. Whats worse, politically, is that it sends a clear message to all of these blue collar middle class workers that your are not on their side. You can’t undo that with promises of retraining or aid. The jobs are gone. This is a disaster for a political party that claims to represent and draws support ordinary people.

        • anonymous says:

          Let’s stop with this “economically stressed WWC” rubbish. It has been debunked here and elsewhere. What made the difference wasn’t economic populism but White Nationalism. This is especially true in the Southernizing Upper Midwest outside of MI.

          Globalizatiom and outsourcing did not effect MN, WI, PA or IA to any great degree. But Whites voted Trump overwhelmingly because they wanted to vote “White” same as in the South and WV.

          • jim, some guy in iowa says:

            there’s *something* to it though. there have been several small factories close around here in the last ten years, employing anywhere from 100 to 300 people at their peaks

            I don’t know that people necessarily blame NAFTA though because only in a couple of those situations did the jobs actually go out of the country- in some cases the work was consolidated in newer facilities elsewhere in the US, in others the work itself became obsolete like buggy whips

            but I do think those jobs being lost does feed right into the sense everything is going to hell which Trump keeps pushing- especially with people 50+ who have a tendency to think that things should stay the way they were when they were 30. And when things go to hell, who’s the easiest person to blame? The person who looks and acts the least like me. I just don’t think we can easily if at all separate out the ingredients of Trump’s toxic stew of resentments

            • Lee Rudolph says:

              in others the work itself became obsolete like buggy whips

              When America is made Great again, any day now, whips will no longer be obsolete, and they will function perfectly without any bugs whatever.

            • Linnaeus says:

              I think we also shouldn’t overlook the effect that economic change has had on the status of organized labor the Upper Midwest states that Trump won. Political education was (and still is) a significant function of unions, but it’s harder to do that, and you reach fewer people, when your influence wanes because the industries in which your membership is based leave your communities.

          • Docrailgun says:

            MN remained a blue state.

            • anonymous says:

              Barely. Very Barely. It could just as easily been lost. But make no mistake, like the rest of the Upper Midwest, it is starting to “Southernize”. Its not to the extent of, say, IA but it wouldn’t surprise me if MN falls Red in 2020 and beyond into IA/WV territory.

              • Marshall_timbers says:

                I agree about your worrying about MN, but Minneapolis-St Paul is a much larger urban entity than anything in WV or IA. Does MSP get a lot of incoming white liberal flight from surrounding rural states?

          • AMK says:

            i dunno about the other three states you cite, but there are lots of huge rusting steel mills all over Pennsylvania that used to employ tens of thousands of people.We can argue that automation and new recycling technology actually did more to kill those plants than steel dumping from china, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to people who worked there or grew up in those communities.

          • Taylor says:

            The Carrier factory closing had huge optics. Why do you think Trump had to appear to be keeping it open, even after he had won the election?

            Meanwhile Obama campaigned for TPP.

            Yes, yes, we will probably now see a version of TPP that is much worse than anything Obama negotiated, but that doesn’t mitigate the colossal political mistake that he made.

            • Marshall_timbers says:

              My guess is that there’s several factors making the lower middle /working class white population of the industrial Midwest voting like southerners. Scott Walker after all, beat a recall election well before TPP was an issue. Pretty much the results of the 2010 midterms would indicate that its not solely TPP anxiety.

          • Marshall_timbers says:

            Arizona will almost certainly be more competitive for Democrats in 2020 than Iowa. And I’m feeling better about NC with Cooper at the helm.

          • TVTray says:

            “Globalizatiom and outsourcing did not effect MN, WI, PA or IA to any great degree.”

            Just amazing.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      (and hope that New England doesn’t Southernize)

      No sign of that happening, except in ME02.

      How many other D > R flips in the six states recently?

      Sen. Barncoat Brown, for a year or so. NH 01, where Carol Shea Porter goes in and out like the bird on a cuckoo clock?

    • econoclast says:

      Nah, he’s going to lose. I know wallowing in defeatism is our main hobby, but the only way he wins is if either he somehow magically proves to be competent President, or if he gets a rally-around-the-flag effect. He loses Congress in 2 years, and the White House in 4. Just in time for redistricting!

  7. mtraven says:

    I’m taking a very scientific Twitter poll on the Spencer incident, please share your views.

  8. wengler says:

    You should always punch a Nazi.

    You should never not punch a Nazi. It’d be swell if more liberals came around to the leftist position on this.

    • celticdragonchick says:

      Nazi punching is the new ice breaker for liberal get-togethers. If only we could get Richard Spencer to stay in one place long enough so we could all get a chance….

  9. Gwen says:

    I have watched this video several times because it never stops amusing.

    But one thing I note is that immediately before getting socked, Spencer started bragging about how Pepe had become an alt-right symbol.

    To recap — Pepe was originally apolitical and his creator was quoted by several journalists during the campaign stating his disapproval of Pepe being kidnapped by nazis.

    So I think the message in this video is VIVE LE PEPE LIBRE! The Amphibian Liberation Front strikes its first blow.

  10. Gizmo says:

    Thats gotta be the best thing I’ve seen all day. Its even better with the sound on.

  11. Ethel2Tilly says:

    With all due respect (and I do respect the crap out of you guys and this site):


    what, Michelle’s gone all of 10 mins?

  12. NoMoreAltCenter says:

    Just remember that the people who punched out Richard Spencer were Antifa, and thus likely to the Left of even the Bernie Bros that you all routinely perform disgust at. I bet he even had CRITICISMS OF HILLARY CLINTON!

  13. UserGoogol says:

    I keep thinking about the Iraq War. The whole point of that was to do a preemptive strike against a dictator and it was a fucking terrible idea. Violence only works in very narrow circumstances where it can lead into something which meshes with fundamental historical forces: trying to force things just creates a quagmire.

    Now maybe I’m overgeneralizing: Iraq had very specific geopolitical reasons it was a bad place to intervene which are not at all applicable to the current situation. But the arguments they made were exactly the same ones people are making now, and that’s troubling.

    • McAllen says:

      These are completely different types of violence. Nobody’s advocating bombing Washington DC. Nobody’s even advocating killing Nazis.

      • NoMoreAltCenter says:

        Um, I do.

        • Tristan says:


        • (((Malaclypse))) says:

          No, you don’t. You pretend you do while on the internet, because you think it makes you look like a revolutionary. You want to LARP at being Trotsky, when the real Trotsky did shit, and got his ass set to Siberia by age 20, because he actually did the things you play-act at. You’re a privileged wanker with all the bravery that comes of being out of range.

          • NoMoreAltCenter says:

            I don’t remember claiming to have personally killed Nazis, I claimed I advocated it. But thanks for the borderline sociopathic projective rant.

            Btw, Stalin ranked pretty highly among the toughest dudes of the Bolshevik party (bank robberies, multiple exiles), and I don’t think we want to hold him up as an example, although he was pretty good at killing Nazis.

          • random says:

            Heh I use the ok-cleek blocker so I see it’s post as:

            “It puts the apples in the pie crust, or else it gets the hose again.”

            And Mal’s response as:

            “No, you don’t. You pretend you do while on the internet, because you think it makes you look like a revolutionary….”

            Whole conversation makes more sense when this way.

      • UserGoogol says:

        I mean, some people are. But more than that, it’s all a matter of degree. Violent resistance has a tendency to escalate, anyway.

  14. MAJeff says:

    That Spencer punch is probably the best thing the Black Bloc has ever done.

  15. Robespierre says:

    Ok, anger stage. It’s progress, in a way.

  16. AdamPShort says:

    Nazis always provide a nice opportunity to demonstrate the limits of pacifism.

    • urd says:

      Or even the limits of liberalism and free speech. I remember the uproar the ACLU faced when defending the Neo-Nazis’ right to march in the Village of Skokie.

      • pillsy says:

        The Nazis got their permits and then decide to march through Chicago instead, because they knew they’d get their asses kicked if they went through Skokie.

        I mean, I’ve led a pretty sheltered existence, and I’ve got my ass beaten way worse than Spencer did for being much less of a mouthy asshole. The idea that some guy getting clocked for talking shit is going to send us spiraling into the abyss this time, when it’s a pretty regular occurrence throughout the country, is kinda silly.

        • urd says:

          Where have I said him getting punched is

          going to send us spiraling into the abyss this time

          My position is inviting/inciting people to punch Neo-Nazis is a bad move for reasons I’ve already described.

          Build a better strawman next time.

  17. random says:

    Some of the memes being done of this are just epic.

  18. McMike says:

    The nonviolence Backpfeifengesicht conundrum is precisely why they invented cream pies.

    As an aside, I have now educated myself about the undercut/undershave. And am coming around to the view that what this fellow really needs is for a stranger to come up on the sidewalk and assault him with a hair clipper.

  19. Woodrowfan says:

    actual NAZIs are the one exception to my political non-violence rule. Anybody that advocates/praises mass killings in concentration camps has removed themselves from the bounds of civil political discourse.

  20. Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    Is Spenser from Illinois? Remember, Jake and Elwood hated
    Illinois Nazis. Hell, we all hate Illinois Nazis.

  21. Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    He did go to the University of Chicago, so at one time he was an Illinois Nazi.

  22. Sumac says:

    I think there’s a possibility the punch was staged, and the video will be used to recruit neo-Nazis and to justify their punching Trump opponents.

    • pillsy says:

      They’ll do that anyway. They’re Nazis–they don’t need an excuse to be violent.

      • urd says:

        True, but no reason to make them more violent and giving them fodder by actually doing what Erik is suggesting.

        The real world has real consequences.

        • pillsy says:

          It’s not going to make them more violent. Their whole reason for being is violent, and their whole ethos interprets pretty much everything any member of a racial or religious minority does as a mortal threat anyway.

          • urd says:

            And you know this because?

            If you look at past events where people have stood up against such groups, they usually take out their frustrations on those who cannot defend themselves. It’s typical bully behavior.

            And just because being violent is a major part of their identity doesn’t preclude them from acting even more violent.

      • Sumac says:

        It just occurred to me that the neo-Nazis likely love the video – whether or not it was staged. But I agree with you that they don’t need an excuse for violence.

  23. MPAVictoria says:

    So some here think It is perfectly fine if Nazis organize, agitate, & recruit for the purpose of ethnic cleansing and genocide BUT it is not OK to punch them?



    • Robespierre says:

      Just fucking listen to yourselves. Upthread there’s people creaming their pants while discussing the relative merits of wooden bats vs aluminum.

      • MPAVictoria says:

        How about a yes or no answer?

        • Murc says:

          How about we reject the implicit framing of your question?

          I have nothing against Richard Spencer being punched in isolation, but I kinda reject the notion of us sinking to the level of right-wing authoritarians and declaring that political violence is a-okay as long as it is directed only against the correct people. Places where that sort of thinking is accepted at all levels of the body politic are typically speaking not good places, and typically don’t involve political violence being deployed to good ends. “I don’t want to go down this road and I find those that do to be wrong at best and horrifying at worst” isn’t an illegitimate stance to take.

          I have a lot of trouble getting worked up over this specific incident, because the world would absolutely be a better place if Richard Spencer were beaten to death with a baseball bat. But I also have trouble dismissing those who are, because there are a bunch of people who would prefer we not re-purpose fascist arguments and then say “but its okay when we do it because we’re in the right.” Everybody always thinks they’re in the right. Those guys aren’t concern trolling.

        • Robespierre says:

          Anyway, my answer is, of course, “imminent lawless action or gtfo”.

      • Aaron Morrow says:

        Not everyone has as good a history of fantasizing fighting against aggressors as the Jewish people; truth be told, I think I’d go with more of a Frankenstein’s monster motif than a golem.

  24. urd says:


    Yeah, Neo-Nazis, and their ilk, have it coming and it is well deserved. And to be honest, I have no idea how much of this is serious versus snark, but the reality of doing this is it makes the whole situation worse. If nothing else, it furthers their belief they are being oppressed and with the current media it will just attract more followers to their cause.

    I’d love for people like this to be punched, but without some legal backing, this just turns into chaos. And more often then not, Neo-Nazis take it out on people that can’t defend themselves.

    Not really worth it.

    • wengler says:

      The neo-Nazis sure took it on the chin when a bunch of them fired into a Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota. What’s that? No one gave a shit, because the corporate media couldn’t care less about black people getting shot?

      • urd says:

        I’m confused by your comment, as it essentially supports my argument but appears to be trying to dispute it.

        Just to make it clear: this nation is still deeply racist and sexist. It should come as no surprise to anyone here that Neo-Nazis could get away with things that if done to them would cause howls of protest in the media and certain political circles. It’s not right or fair, but life rarely is.

  25. Hogan says:

    24 hours and no one has linked to this. Have we learned nothing from Steve Attewell?

  26. anonymouse says:

    Did anyone else notice the yo’ mama joke in the Daffy Duck clip? It was subtle but definitely there.

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